HM NAVAL Base Clyde has been selected as the first UK test site for a study that could change the way sailors, soldiers and aircrew are housed.

The 3,400 submariners, sailors and Royal Marines based at HMNB Clyde have been selected as the first UK personnel who could benefit from the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) pilot study.

The FAM pilot will provide financial support to service personnel at HMNB Clyde who want to rent or buy a home within a 50-mile radius of the base, giving personnel more choice where and with whom they can live.

Service personnel can also still choose to live in the on-site single living accommodation, or in family accommodation, such as the Churchill housing estate in Helensburgh.

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Johnny Mercer MP, the UK government’s Minister for Defence People and Veterans, said: “Today’s launch is the latest step in providing greater choice and more flexibility to our armed forces in how they live and work.

“Expanding accommodation options underlines our commitment to continuing to be an employer that meets the changing needs and expectation of service personnel and their families.”

The MoD says it is “committed to better balancing a career in the armed forces with modern family life”.

Rear Admiral Mike Bath, Naval Secretary and Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Personnel), who officially launched the pilot, said: “As part of the wider Armed Forces’ programme to modernise for the 21st century, HM Naval Base Clyde was chosen for this first pilot study due to its strategic importance for Royal Navy operations.

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“This includes the relocation of 1,700 submariners from Devonport to the Clyde, as the Scottish site becomes the Royal Navy’s single integrated submarine operating base from 2020.

“We anticipate that more submariners and their families will choose to move permanently to the west of Scotland, to live, work and put down roots, safe in the knowledge that their careers will be focussed on a single site in Scotland which provides for all their training, operational and support needs.

“The pilot study will be extended to a total of three sites across the UK by next year and will last for approximately three years.

“Following the launch of the pilot at HMNB Clyde, a second pilot will launch at Aldershot Garrison from January 2020, and the third and final one at RAF Wittering from May 2020.

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“The three studies will be used to test military accommodation policy and assess the attractiveness and benefits for service personnel of FAM. No one at a FAM pilot site will be asked to leave their current single living or family location.”

Only once the pilot is complete, and the results analysed, will a decision be taken whether to roll-out FAM across the rest of the United Kingdom.